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Snorkeltheworld

Best places to snorkel in: Bahamas, Antigua, St. Kitts, Grand Turks, San Juan?

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Cruising on Carnival Splendor this month, Dec. 2017, and want to find best beaches or excursions for snorkeling in these 5 locations: Bahamas, Antigua, St. Kitts, Grand Turks, San Juan. Thank you.

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I will watch this topic too.

 

Not sure about the best, but we've seen nice fish right of the Escambron beach in San Juan. We walked there from the port for about 2 miles. Nice walk too.

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I've been trying to find out this info too, and it seems like there isn't a whole lot of activity in that direction on the Ports of Call board. Was hoping for a little bit more here.

 

It's also hard to gauge what others consider great snorkeling. Some look for the live coral, w anemones, octopus, rays, other large animals, as well as the smaller reclusive ones that hide in and around live corals. etc. Other people report fantastic snorkeling when they were swimming over dead coral or rocks, among the several species of more aggressive fish that respond by the droves to dog kibble being thrown in the water. The two are very different - it's all in the eye of the beholder.

 

I wonder how good any of the snorkeling will be on any of the islands now. The hurricanes that washed through, one after the other, must have had some direct negative impact on the coral and fish. Even those that didn't get the full brunt of the Cat 5's still had some significant rain. But I'm looking forward to checking it out.

 

For my contribution - On St Kitt's, we found Reggae beach to be quite interesting. It was calm enough to take your time and really look at what was there. We saw, among all the usual suspects, sea stars, octopus, lots of spny urchins and some cushion urchins, lobster, lionfish, some cool worms, butterfly fish, tangs, etc. One of our favorite spots.

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Thank you for the tip on St. Kitts. I couldn't find Reggae Beach, but found Reggae Beach Bar on Cockleshell Beach. Is that the beach where you snorkeled? How long ago were you there? I cannot find any info on snorkeling and I even got a full face snorkel and want to use it. If you get any tips on good places to snorkel, please pass them on to me. Good Day!

:)

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Yes, it's the Reggae Beach Bar I was referring to. We were there last January and are planning on going back. I'm quite fascinated w the full face snorkel and would love to hear how you make out. When are you going?

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My cruise is dec. 17-26. I will let you know how the full face snorkel works out. I ordered it from Amazon and it has a fold down top for easy travel and you can attach a go pro on it.

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My cruise is dec. 17-26. I will let you know how the full face snorkel works out. I ordered it from Amazon and it has a fold down top for easy travel and you can attach a go pro on it.

 

We’re on the same cruise! We’re also trying to find the best places to snorkel and best beaches.

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Hi Libbiroed!

 

Nice to hear from someone who is going to be on the same cruise as us! Perhaps we can combine efforts on finding the best beaches and snorkeling. We are a party of 5 and are into going to the nicest beaches that are free or low cost snorkeling. I am new to cruising and also new to Cruise Critic and not sure how to contact you privately. Perhaps we can connect and share beach and snorkeling info. I have been researching beaches and have an idea of what would be good, but you never know until you get there!

:)

Edited by Snorkeltheworld
additional info

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Hi Libbiroed!

 

Nice to hear from someone who is going to be on the same cruise as us! Perhaps we can combine efforts on finding the best beaches and snorkeling. We are a party of 5 and are into going to the nicest beaches that are free or low cost snorkeling. I am new to cruising and also new to Cruise Critic and not sure how to contact you privately. Perhaps we can connect and share beach and snorkeling info. I have been researching beaches and have an idea of what would be good, but you never know until you get there!

:)

 

There’s 10 of us total although I think we’ll be breaking off and doing things on our own. We just booked a snorkeling tour in Antigua. It looks fun! I’m also looking at Cable Beach and Saunders Beach in Nassau. I read on another thread St Kitts isn’t a great beach location. Rocky beaches and murky water? If you know something else I’d also love info!

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Hi!

 

We are considering either Cable Beach or going to Paradise Island on the Ferry. The beach there is called Cabbage Beach and is supposed to be beautiful, but there is a bad rip tide in the water.

 

We are looking at Cockleshell Beach or South Friar's Bay in St. Kitts. Snorkeling is supposed to be good at Cockleshell. There is also a place called Carambola Beach Club that has Shipwreck Beach Bar with hammocks and White House Bay which has sheltered waters which are good for snorkeling.

 

For Grand Turks I have read that it is cool to see the "wall" where the ocean drops off dramatically. There are excursions that go there, but I think that is more for divers.

 

Which excursion are you taking in Antigua?

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We’re going with Adventure Antigua and doing the Eco tour. They have a video on their website and it looked fun! But I think at the other ports we will just enjoy the beaches.

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There’s 10 of us total although I think we’ll be breaking off and doing things on our own. We just booked a snorkeling tour in Antigua. It looks fun! I’m also looking at Cable Beach and Saunders Beach in Nassau. I read on another thread St Kitts isn’t a great beach location. Rocky beaches and murky water? If you know something else I’d also love info!

We had a wonderful experience snorkeling with Stuart's Cove in Nassau, you may want to check them out...

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Does anyone have recent updates on snorkeling (condition of reefs post hurricanes) in St Thomas, St Kitts, Antigua, Grand Turk? I am assuming St Lucia and Barbados were ok. But would love to know if we should even bother with snorkeling at the others. We are avid snorkelers and dead coral is not exciting for us. I too have a full face mask and really liked it the one time I used it, but can't decide if I like the small/medium or the large one I got to try next - It does take some getting used to and you can't hear someone trying to communicate with it on! ;p

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Would love to try a full face snorkel, but I have to dive with prescription lenses due to poor eyesight,

Will be in the Caribbean last two weeks in January 2018,so will be following this thread, Will be going to St Kitts, Antigua, Tortola, etc.

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There’s 10 of us total although I think we’ll be breaking off and doing things on our own. We just booked a snorkeling tour in Antigua. It looks fun! I’m also looking at Cable Beach and Saunders Beach in Nassau. I read on another thread St Kitts isn’t a great beach location. Rocky beaches and murky water? If you know something else I’d also love info!
WHERE did you snorkel in Antigua we dont want rough seas something from the beach.... i just had surgery and an in my 70 but love snorkeling Not ready to give that up yet THANK YOU

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I snorkeled in Antigua, St. Kitts, and Grand Turk. The very best snorkeling was at St. Kitts. We went to South Friar's beach. The van drops you off at Carambola Beach Club. The views of Nevis are amazing. Now, you need to know where to go to snorkel. You head all the way to the right, past the beach, and there is a rocky lagoon. The waters are calm and I saw glow in the dark fish, luminescent sea life, lobsters, little groups of fish, blue yellow. Rainbow colored fish. I just couldn't get enough of it! Stay along the rocks on the side to see the most sea life. The very best snorkeling, hands down. My kids walked down to the other end of the beach and saw wild monkeys, which made their day.

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Oh... we just visited South Friars beach last Thursday and didn't think it had snorkeling. Good to know! Next Christmas cruise we'll try it!!!

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I snorkeled in Antigua, St. Kitts, and Grand Turk. The very best snorkeling was at St. Kitts. We went to South Friar's beach. The van drops you off at Carambola Beach Club. The views of Nevis are amazing. Now, you need to know where to go to snorkel. You head all the way to the right, past the beach, and there is a rocky lagoon. The waters are calm and I saw glow in the dark fish, luminescent sea life, lobsters, little groups of fish, blue yellow. Rainbow colored fish. I just couldn't get enough of it! Stay along the rocks on the side to see the most sea life. The very best snorkeling, hands down. My kids walked down to the other end of the beach and saw wild monkeys, which made their day.
. We were there 2 years ago, and it appeared that the little lagoon there had been fairly recently built

It looked to have good potential as a snorkeling area but didn't appear to be there yet. Is this the area you are speaking of? There's a small pier/ dock there in front of the beach

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Yes, this is the lagoon I speak of. You can enter from a little sandy area and stay to the right going out along the rocks. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! Grand Turks and Antigua paled in comparison.

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Yes, this is the lagoon I speak of. You can enter from a little sandy area and stay to the right going out along the rocks. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! Grand Turks and Antigua paled in comparison.

When were you there? How much was a cab from the cruise port? Also have you been to Cockleshell for comparison purposes? Thanks[emoji4]

 

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Forums mobile app

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We paid $6 pp when it was just two of us to South Friars. Back to the ship we paid $3 pp, but shared ride with many others.

 

We liked South Friars better overall than Cockleshell , but haven’t snorkeled yet in any places

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Hi, I was in St. Kitts in December 2017. When we got off the ship there were vans taking people to the beach. Half of us went to South Friars and the other 2 went to Cockleshell. It was $5/person to South Friars, and $7/person to Cockleshell. I chose South Friars because my kids wanted to see the monkeys. Our van was actually an open air vehicle and we had to wait until it filled up to go to the beach. I consider us the lucky ones at South Friars, as the other couple went to Cockleshell to snorkel and he got hives real bad all over his body and had to go to sick bay once back to the ship and be on steroids and iv. In looking at the photos, I think both beaches are pretty. I liked South Friars cuz they drop you off at a beach club and you can use the facilities, chairs, etc. It is a beach club atmosphere or you can walk one way or the other and have more remoteness. Cockleshell photos looked like maybe Nevis Island is closer or something. Either way, you feel like you are in some sort of dreamland.

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I consider us the lucky ones at South Friars, as the other couple went to Cockleshell to snorkel and he got hives real bad all over his body and had to go to sick bay once back to the ship and be on steroids and iv. In looking at the photos, I think both beaches are pretty. I liked South Friars cuz they drop you off at a beach club and you can use the facilities, chairs, etc. It is a beach club atmosphere or you can walk one way or the other and have more remoteness. Cockleshell photos looked like maybe Nevis Island is closer or something. Either way, you feel like you are in some sort of dreamland.
Hives all over his body! Poor guy--That sounds terrible! Do you know what caused it? I would definitely not feel like I was in a dreamland it that happened.;p

 

So when you caught the cab, did you ask for South Friars or Carambola? Did you rent chairs or just snorkel in the rocky lagoon to the right? How long did y'all snorkel/stay? Any recommendations for food in that area? Thanks for all the info--getting excited for our trip in March!

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There are really only 2 beaches there and vans and taxis are right when you get off the ship. Tourism is their way of life so they are very assertive about taking you where you want to go and picking you up at the time you ask them to be there. i told them south friars beach and they directed us to an open air vehicle with 4 benches. Yeah, you feel like you are going on an adventure. On the way to the beach they stopped at a very scenic overlook called Timothy's pass and we all got out and took pictures. A little further and they pulled into carambola beach club and they asked people what time they wanted to be picked up. Everyone had different times and that was fine with the driver. When we walked out onto the beach 2 people had just vacated their chairs, so we snatched them up. We got there around noon. There is an umbrella between 2 chairs and if the umbrella is open that means the chairs have been paid for. We were just there at the right time so we didn't have to pay. We were trying to be thrifty with food, so we took a lot of sandwich bags with us and would fill them with food from the breakfast buffet before getting off at the port. We would fill up our bags with fresh fruit, cheese, some trail mix and that was good for us to have in the afternoon. I believe they have food at the carambola beach club, but we didn't go in there except to use bathrooms. The whole island is only about 7 miles, so it is pretty simple. We stayed there until 5, which was 5 hours. I would have loved to be there for a week, but that is not how the cruise works! I was anxious to start snorkeling and did so for a few hours and then had my snack. I hung out on my beach chair the rest of the afternoon just enjoying the beauty. My kids went down to the other side of the beach to see the monkeys. Our driver picked us up at 5 and we headed back to the ship. If I were doing it again I would try to get an earlier start getting there so I could be there longer. That had been my plan but one of my kids disappeared on the cruise ship that morning and we had to wait for her to show up. Yes, I was pissed, but I used the time waiting to have a meaningful conversation with my son. St. Kitts was my favorite port, like a little slice of heaven on earth. Look up some photos online and you will understand. Never found out why our friend got hives at the other beach. Just glad he was ok after getting steroids. Have a wonderful trip. I carried a 32 ounce container of water with me everywhere I went to stay hydrated.

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We were just at St. Kitts on a HAL cruise Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Went to Cockleshell. Might have gone to South Friars if I'd read a review like yours, but we had gone to Cockleshell once before and really liked it. If you're interested in seeing it, you can check it out in my blog here: http://crusanwithsusan.blogspot.com/2017/12/2017-nov-28-dec-12-11-night-hal.html

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We were just at St. Kitts on a HAL cruise Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Went to Cockleshell. Might have gone to South Friars if I'd read a review like yours, but we had gone to Cockleshell once before and really liked it. If you're interested in seeing it, you can check it out in my blog here: http://crusanwithsusan.blogspot.com/2017/12/2017-nov-28-dec-12-11-night-hal.html

 

OMG, your pictures are flipping amazing!! I've been to almost all the places you listed numerous times and have never seen some of those species. Are you a professional photographer and marine biologist? Not that many people could name as may of the fish that you did. What kind of camera do you use, and what is your secret? I'm totally in awe...

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We were just at St. Kitts on a HAL cruise Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Went to Cockleshell. Might have gone to South Friars if I'd read a review like yours, but we had gone to Cockleshell once before and really liked it. If you're interested in seeing it, you can check it out in my blog here: http://crusanwithsusan.blogspot.com/2017/12/2017-nov-28-dec-12-11-night-hal.html

 

The pictures are compelling. We haven't seen this much variety since we vacationed in St. Marteen 27 years ago.

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I've heard that St. Kitts doesn't have the best snorkeling. In Grand Turk, Gibbs Cay is nice but you need a boat to take you there. It will cost between $60 and $90 per person.

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We went to South Friars Bay, on the recommendation on this thread, lovely beach, saw Lobster, Octopus, stone fish, porcupine fish (Small) and a beautiful Lion Fish, all by just snorkilling around the small lagoon, thanks for the posting about this great plcae,

Cocktails in the bar were not bad either, he gave generous amount, I jokey said I was not driving, so he added more!

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Wow.. you’ve seen so much. On our next Christmas cruise on Grandeur we will definitely go to lagoon. I wish I took my snorkeling gear to S Friars beach last time around.

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Does anyone have recent updates on snorkeling (condition of reefs post hurricanes) in St Thomas, St Kitts, Antigua, Grand Turk? I am assuming St Lucia and Barbados were ok. But would love to know if we should even bother with snorkeling at the others. We are avid snorkelers and dead coral is not exciting for us. I too have a full face mask and really liked it the one time I used it, but can't decide if I like the small/medium or the large one I got to try next - It does take some getting used to and you can't hear someone trying to communicate with it on! ;p

 

My daughter and I snorkeled close to sandals property when at Turks and Caicos

And the activity of fish and colors were amazing!!!

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At Grand Turk - when you get out of the duty free shop turn left and walk through Margerittaville and go down the beach about 250 yards to a small yellow building playing music. This is the Island Jerk Bar. Cold beer for $3, free wifi, free chairs and good Conk Fritters plus you can snorkel right off the beach. We were there in Jan 2018 and saw several flounder, a frog fish and a ray that was passing through the area. The best snorkeling is in Bonaire.

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We’re going with Adventure Antigua and doing the Eco tour. They have a video on their website and it looked fun! But I think at the other ports we will just enjoy the beaches.

 

Hello! We are going in June and that looked like a great excursion! What did you think? Was it worth it?

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We went to South Friars Bay, on the recommendation on this thread, lovely beach, saw Lobster, Octopus, stone fish, porcupine fish (Small) and a beautiful Lion Fish, all by just snorkilling around the small lagoon, thanks for the posting about this great plcae,

Cocktails in the bar were not bad either, he gave generous amount, I jokey said I was not driving, so he added more!

 

 

Good to know! We are going in June and are first time cruisers. Nice to know we don't have to pay for all those expensive excursions!

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